By Catherine Conlan, Contributing Writer
Could inaccurate assumptions about the world of work be holding you back?
We debunk five of the most common career myths and show you how to counteract them.
Myth 1: There is one perfect job for you out there, and you better hope you find it.
Reality: This is one of the most common career myths out there, and people keep falling for it. "There are many perfect jobs for you, it just depends on where you are in life," says Matthew Walden, senior vice president at Infinity Consulting in New York. You may think you've found the perfect job, but anything can change -- demand for your product or service drops, people get laid off, your boss jumps to another company, you lose interest in what you're doing. "People get complacent," Walden says. "You have to be constantly looking." Your career will likely be a continuum of learning, changing interests, and changing circumstances, not a goal to be reached, so stay alert to opportunities that might come when you don't expect them.
Myth 2: Once you're settled in a career path, you're stuck.
Reality: "You're never stuck," Walden says. "You need to look at what you're willing to do to get unstuck." While there can be financial constraints that may keep you from switching careers quickly, Walden says taking classes or being willing to make less money for some time to get on the career path you want shouldn't hold you back. Many people go to college, major in a line of study, work for a few years in that area and then find it doesn't suit them at all. Walden says it's worth the time to make the change. "If you're a good candidate, smart, and presentable, you need to take those steps now to get yourself on the path you want."
Myth 3: You should choose your job based on the skills you have.
Reality: Choosing a job because of what you can already do will likely leave you unfulfilled. Instead, find a career path that will position you for training, learning new things, and advancement.
Myth 4: Do what you love, and the money will follow.
Reality: This does happen, but rarely, and it takes a lot of lean times and good luck. Don't talk yourself out of your dreams, but be realistic about the prospects of the career you want to follow. A better bet is to find ways to combine what you love with your work, or to identify a career that allows you the means to follow your passion in your free time.
Myth 5: If you want to make a lot of money, get your MBA.
Reality: If money is all you're looking for, there are plenty of jobs out there that don't require an MBA. And an MBA is not a guarantee that the money will start rolling in. But choosing a career only by how much money it can set yourself up for disappointment in your work life, experts say. It's better to find a balance among what you like to do, what you can do and the level of income you want to earn.
Being aware of the career myths that can hold you back will help you avoid falling for them. Being realistic about your career path and what you want from it will help set you up for success throughout your working life.